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Ireland U20

  • Thread starter snoopy snoopy dog dog
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
An Ireland U20 squad of 24 players has been named for the opening game of the U20 6 Nations Championship campaign against France next Friday in Dubarry Park (kick off 7.30pm).

Ireland U20 Coach Allen Clarke has named 13 forwards and 11 backs in the enlarged squad, with David Kearney, Eamonn Sheridan and Ian Madigan the experienced members among the backs having been part of the under 20 Six Nations and Junior World Championship squads last year.

Queen's University student James Sandford is the only survivor in the forwards from last year’s panel.

Clarke and his coaching team will reduce the squad to 22 on Wednesday when they select the starting team and replacements for the match.

Ireland U20 Squad v France U20:

Andrew Burke (Garryowen/Munster)
John Cooney (UCD/Leinster)
Gary Foley (Blackrock College/Leinster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Michael Keating (Clontarf/Leinster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Ian McKinley (UCD/Leinster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
John O'Brien (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Ronan O'Mahony (Garryowen/Munster)
Eamonn Sheridan (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Mark Flanagan (UCD/Leinster)
Adam Macklin (Ulster)
Michael Noone (Seapoint & Lansdowne/Leinster)
Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Paddy McAllister (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Jack McConnell (Lansdowne/Leinster)
David McGregor (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Ciaran Ruddock (Neath)
Rhys Ruddock (Neath)
James Sandford (Queens University/Ulster)
Thomas Sexton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)[/b]


The provincial breakdown is:

Connacht - 1
Leinster - 13
Munster - 4
Ulster - 4
Neath - 2

It's a very mixed squad in terms of talent level. There are 7 or 8 guys who could go far in the game while the rest are no more than average. The best players on show are Burke, Kearney, Foley, Keating, McKinley and O'Brien among the backs with Macklin, McGrath and Sandford the pick of the forwards. Burke and McKinley are the best flyhalf prospects to come through the schools system since Jeremy Staunton (a wasted talent), Emmet Farrell (career was ruined by injuries - now Blackrock RFC backs coach) and Ronan O'Gara (Farrell's backup at underage level). McGrath is only a few months out of school and has propped for Leinster A already. Kearney isn't in the same class as his brother but is a fine finisher and talented all round player. Keating is an excellent finisher and is proving it for Clontarf in the AIL. Foley is very skillful but needs to bulk up. O'Brien is a highly rated winger for Connacht and has featured in a couple of friendlies. Macklin is a powerful ball carrier but needs to refine his scrummaging. Sandford is a towering 2nd row who needs to impose himself a little more.

I'd be confident that most of the players I've named will go on to have long, productive careers.


Thats an amazing number of players from Leinster. They must have a very good youth set up?

snoopy snoopy dog dog

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (danny @ Feb 1 2009, 07:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Thats an amazing number of players from Leinster. They must have a very good youth set up?[/b]
It's a good setup alright. A couple of years ago when Ireland won the u20 Grand Slam, this was the team to play Wales:

Ireland Under-20: Felix Jones; Shane Monahan, Darren Cave, Aidan Wynne, Keith Earls; Ian Keatley, Paul O'Donohoe; David Millard, Richard Sweeney, Jamie Hagan, Conor McInerney, Andrew Browne, Thomas Anderson, David Pollock (capt), Sean O'Brien.
Replacements: Ger Slattery, Ruaidhri Murphy, Neilus Keogh, Tommy O'Donnell, David Drake, Niall O'Connor, Kyle Tonetti.

Bolded are those who came through the Leinster system (8 starters and 2 subs). On top of that Luke Fitzgerald and Cian Healy were eligible for the same age group while Aidan Wynne (who started in the centre) came through Leinster schools rugby (with Blackrock).

Every year Leinster seem to produce the bulk of the underage squads but it doesn't always hold true that they break through to full international level. While Munster and Ulster produce less in terms of quantity, the players they bring through are often of an equal or better standard to Leinster. It could be argued that of the Grand Slam winning team, Earls, Cave and Pollock were the best players, none of whom are involved with Leinster. From this particular group, Andrew Burke of Munster may very well be the most talented player.


Snoopy, you seem the expert at this, how do they compare to to the grandslam team?

snoopy snoopy dog dog

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Monkeypigeon @ Feb 1 2009, 08:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Snoopy, you seem the expert at this, how do they compare to to the grandslam team?[/b]
The current bunch aren't nearly as good. In my opinion only Burke (at 10), McKinley (12), McGrath (1) and possibly Sandford (4/5) would make the grand slam team.


Well if we had a group like the grandslam team every year we'd need never worry about losing.

snoopy snoopy dog dog

I was having a quick look at some of the profiles of the players. It seems as though Mark Flanagan has played a couple of games for Leinster A which bodes well considering Leinster have quite a few locks in their squad. Also, Rhys Ruddock only turned 18 a couple of months ago which probably points out that he could be a talent worth looking out for. He's in the Ospreys academy at present and only recently declared for Ireland. I wonder if his fathers "relationship" with new Ospreys coach Scott Johnson informed his decision to switch allegiances! Could he be on his way to an Irish provincial setup in the summer?

snoopy snoopy dog dog

IRELAND U20 (v France U20):

15 - Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
14 - David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
13 - Ian McKinley (UCD/Leinster)
12 - Eamonn Sheridan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 - Michael Keating (Clontarf/Leinster)
10 - Andrew Burke (Garryowen/Munster)
9 - Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
1 - Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
2 - Thomas Sexton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
3 - Jack O'Connell (Lansdowne/Leinster)
4 - Ciaran Ruddock (Neath)
5 - Mark Flanagan (UCD/Leinster)
6 - Rhys Ruddock (Neath)
7 - Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
8 - Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster).

16 - David McGregor (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
17 - Paddy McAllister (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
18 - James Sandford (Queens University/Ulster)
19 - Michael Noone (Seapoint & Lansdowne/Leinster)
20 - John Cooney (UCD/Leinster)
21 - Gary Foley (Blackrock College/Leinster)
22 - Mark Doyle (U.L. Bohemians/Munster).

Sandford not getting picked is the most surprising selection since he was a regular at this level last year. It's an exciting if lightweight backline.

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